In the tale of Robin Hood, our main protagonist steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Similarly, this is how fast fashion works. It mass-produces clothes that follow current, high-fashion, and runway trends, and sells them at more affordable prices.
However, fast fashion is no Robin Hood. While it does make buying trendy clothes easier, the costs to do so are cut from the fee of labor for them.
In 2013, in Bangladesh, an eight-story commercial building collapsed, which resulted in over 1,134 deaths and 2,500 people injured. This tragedy is known as the 2013 Rana Plaza Collapse. The Rana Plaza was one of many sweatshops to produce fast fashion clothing.
Since this tragedy, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there have been at least 109 other cases similar to it.
In low-income countries, and unmaintained buildings, workers crowd to mass-produce fast fashion pieces in these sweatshops. They work under very poor, hazardous, and oppressive conditions in order to make ends meet for themselves and their families.
We stand by the statement “Don’t support fast fashion.” Yet, while doing so, we also recognize that such a statement falls short of acknowledging those who currently cannot afford to shift out of buying fast fashion, even when they want to.
Buying clothes is not just a case of wanting to be fashionable, but also, at the very least, being deemed “presentable” in society. With how quick it is for people to judge from appearance alone, having clothes that communicate presentability is important. That being said, fast fashion might be the only option some consumers have, such as in Asia, where there is size exclusivity.
As consumers, here are some ways we can avoid supporting the fast fashion industry as much as possible:
Follow your clothes’ proper care instructions.
There may be a temporary struggle with understanding all the symbols on our clothes’ tags, but if it means extending our clothes’ lives, it’s worth it.
Buy second-hand clothes.
This could mean going to garage sales, thrifting, etc. You’d be able to find clothes that can help your self-expression at an even more affordable price.
Don’t buy into trends.
The whole point of trends is to influence action, but that doesn’t always mean the action in question is the best for you. Think about if a clothing purchase for you is one you can stand by in the long run.
Banner by: @ysacanlas_